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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  October 15, 2009 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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would appreciate your insights. sure anybody listening ton an official level would appreciate that as well. so for all of you just joining us, i want to let you know what you are looking at that is not a flying saucer. in fact that is a very bad emergency situation right now over the skies of denver, colorado. inside that experimental helium balloon aircraft is a 6-year-old little boy, the son of the people who designed this aircraft in fort collins, colorado. they have this aircraft tethered aside their home. reports from kusa suggest they were doing some sort of testing. the father may have been aware that his 6-year-old son was inside. somehow, believing that the two sturdy ropes that kept this helium balloon attached to the ground became unattached and since then, it has been an odyssey of epic proportions as nbc's lester holt suggested a short time ago they can writing the book how to deal with this, this experimental helium balloon has been going through the air
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at speeds 15 to 20 miles an hour that is an approximation. wildly vacillating with the air altitude between say 8500 feet, maybe as high as 10,000 feet. we believe, if you look right now, get a perspective on the side of the balloon it looks as if it is losing some of its ballast there, losing some helium, it maybe seeping out that will of course, cause that experimental aircraft to come down to earth. the gravest concern is how to land this safely with a 6-year-old boy inside. i'm alex witt covering this breaking news. i'm going to hand everything over to my colleague, tamron hall. >> a story we have never seen before. thank you very much. also with me this hour, of course is my colleague, david schuster in washington, d.c. we are watching this play out. hoping to get more information from the faa as well as nor rad, david, who says it is aware of the situation. like the faa, they are monitoring, i think lester holt,
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our colleague at msnbc had the best words new york book has been written on how to handle the situation, that book is being written right now. we are going to go to kusa, their live coverage of this as we watch what is a scramble at this point to try and save what is believed to be 56-year-old boy. according to his parents, he is inside this helium balloon. let's listen to kusa's live coverage. >> hopefully bring it down, you know, more controlled and sooner. >> it is the time. it is the time now. our guess is it took off 11 a.m. already two hours into it. it has traveled a good deal, distance, it was in fort collins. >> southwest said of fort collins. here we are -- >> northeast of hudson. >> yeah, hudson by now the wind has carried it. now as it goes further south, the winds aloft are lighter so it should slow down.
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and as greg was just mentioning, we have it highlighted, the general area where we believe the balloon to be at this time, out near had hudson and keensburg, north and east of dia you can see dia is right there, in the l of location, the word location we have there north and east of lock buoy, near keensburg. and we have no reason to believe that the balloon is going to move any other direction other than to the south and east which would take it out of weld county and over into extreme eastern sections of adams county, which, again, is a lot of rural areas. and my estimation is, by based on what i saw upper air this morning it would, in fact, start to slow down the farther to the south that it goes. and the farther to the east that it goes. but that's still 5 mi15 miles a hour. kim, as you pointed out, we are two hours in. another eight hours. >> 6-year-old child.
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>> potentially another 90 to 100 miles. >> the temperature and the altitude. >> yes. so, there is a lot to consider. be very interested to see if the national guard decides to do anything or if they are just going to go up and monitor. greg -- as greg said, greg, you will it tell us, they don't have one in the manual for this. >> no, they don't. it's going to be seat of the pants trying to figure out what would be the best and face this option do we know, marty, based on what you have' looked at as far as the forecast if the cloud deck remains, you know, i think you were saying it is, what 35 or 4,000 feet agl? >> yes, above ground level. yes. >> and so, do those clouds remain that high all the way out to the eastern plains or the weather gets worse? >> we continue to listen to our coverage of our affiliate kusa drifts to the southeast. tamron, one important point we should make here, if you look at
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the direction from where this balloon started several hours ago, fort collins and draw a line to the location they were just talking about, which is hudson, colorado it is to the southeast and not that far north from denver international airport. you heard the reference by the pilots, dia, denver international airport. route 76 to the north, so we presume that when tom costello was talking earlier about having to reroute some of the traffic going into dia, that is a real concern, because sometime furs making from a north to the south landing you would essentially go right over hudson, colorado. >> yes, david. and we know that the faa, nor rad, all of these agencies are trying to figure out what to do. tom costello joins us, as you mentioned, tom, that is the reality at this point, as lester and you have mentioned there is no book written on what to do in this situation. what do we know what have you heard from the faa? i know you con taxed them. >> i did. and the faa said they are very much aware of it, very concerned about it.
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the tower at dia, as you might expect is monitoring the situation. denver international airport is one of the ten busiest airports in the country can. as david mentioned there is a dood deal of traffic in and out of the eastern planes of colorado, dia. at the moment if this is in fact traveling at 15 miles an hour and if they are over the area of hudson right now, it sounds like they are going to drift away from dia, but listen, any gust could put it back into that dia flight area. we have not heard at this point of any flight issues, restrictions in and out of dia. they are watching it. the plane 4,000 feet above the ground, then that presumably, they have a very good fix on it, presumably air traffic could avoid it. now, you may be asking how do we bring it down? do you shoot it with a bb gun? do you bring in a helicopter, what do you do? all of those pose very serious risks when you've got a 6-year-old inside. on the other hand, you're -- there's also a great deal of
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concern about the health of that child being exposed to the temperature right there at 4,000 feet above the ground. it is 68 degrees in denver today, more or less, but certainly not the temperature at 4,000 feet above the ground and the concern, as you heard them mention, the kusa people mention that this may go on for eight hours, based on how much helium is in that balloon this is a real, real concern about rescuing this child in a scenario that no one has ever planned before. >> tom, hang on for a second. we want to bring back lester holt, who is an aviation enthusiast. lester, talk to us about the conditions that the child might be experiencing at this point while inside this experimental aircraft. we should be clear, keep hearing 4,000 versus 10,000 feet. we talk about 10,000 that is above sea level. and mind you, we are colorado about 4,000 feet above ground level right now. but you are still feeling the effects of being 10,000 feet above sea level, which is
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breathable air, going to be colder up there than down on the ground. le concern, he goes higher, more difficult to breathe. right now that doesn't seem to be to be a threat. the threat now, as tom has been noting, continues to move off in the same direction, 15 miles an hour, i think you had reported a bit earlier that the national guard was scrambling a helicopter, shouldn't read too much into that, shouldn't read james bond heroics, likely putting up a chopper if for no other thing, a rescue, or recovering once this balloon goes down that has got to be the forefront of their mind in terms of figuring out how to bring it down, my guess, we are not even close to that now because there are so many variables, not only the safety of the child but the safety of any helicopter crew or anyone who would be involved in this sort of dramatic rescue. watching this i can't help but think back to the payne stewart play of many years ago that plane everyone was overcome, the
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plane continued to fly on. now, we have every reason to believe the boy is fine in this situation but there is that same helpless feeling of watching something and we are all conditioned to believe that everything has a solution, everything can be fixed, that we can rescue anyone, but right now there are a lot of very, very smart people who are trying to work this problem as quickly as they can but inform have we been confronted by something like this. even difficult for those us somewhat familiar with balloons, doesn't look like a balloon. can't see a gondola, per se or understand exactly what the child is seeing or whether he has any all have a out of this vehicle. helium balance lanes, gas balloons very often have an emergency vent, a rope, that you would pull that would quickly vent it that would primarily be used on landing, perhaps keep it from blowing along the ground. not sure the effect if he pulls that in flight at this attitude
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or whether he has the wherewith wherewithal, attempt to vent or pull anything. we simply don't note shape of this balloon. >> lester, are you watching -- going to bring in dr. nancy, but just saw a drop there with the balloon. we have seen that, tom, and lester, throughout this two hours that it's been going on, what is going on there likely? >> what the helicopter is doing when you monitor the transmissions, the helicopter itself, kusa helicopter is changing its position relative to the helium balloon which give it is the appear perhaps the balance lan is going up or down but we do believe the balloon is on a straight, sort of southeast position, which could eventually take it toward bennett colorado, boards buyer, believe the up and down is reflective of the helicopter camera, not the balloon itself. for our viewers, trying to get more information how the balloon
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was built, what caused the thing to be untethered with the boy. as we get more information, we will update the viewers on that let's bring in dr. nancy snyderman. dr. snyderman, talking about, again, a balloon about 8 to 10,000 feet. obviously, the temperature is a concern what are your immediate concerns as far as this boy's health and what he maybe experiencing now? >> between 6 to 10,000 feet, some people will start to experience some kind of airsickness, usually, it is newsy and headache. it really above 10,000 feet, you start to feel the lack of oxygen and that can bring headaches, changes in decisionmaking. in this case, passive, make decision, may not have as much of a bearing. it is obviously quite cold. children under the aim of 2, more at risk, but for a 6-year-old other than the fright, a little bit of thinning of oxygen and change of
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temperature, not so much of a risk, but again, if he goes above 10,000 feet, then things change. >> nancy, as far as the emotional state and psychological state, could be a certain point at which the boy might be, i don't know, depending on -- if the miraculous was possible, possible to drop somebody from a helicopter towards that balloon, at a certain point, the boy might be called upon to either reach out or to provide some sort of cooperation. take us through the mind of anybody, but especially a young child in the midst of very dire circumstances like this. >> assuming you could over -- hear over the wind, if you have ever gone parasailing, it is not sort of a passive sound, the roar of the wind is really ferocious. so, how you could communicate and how you would hear directions, boy, i don't know how that would happen at all. but from a cognitive standpoint, if you could hear, being able to make decisions, being able to
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follow directions, between 6 to 10,000 feet, that should become possible. the biggest difference is breathing rapidly just from the sheer fright of it and then the change of oxygen concentration, breathing can become a little more labored. but if the child were, in fact in otherwise decent condition, he should be able to follow direction. >> nancy, i want to follow that with you, talk with david about the affects of loss of oxygen and this being a 6-year-old child, an adult would be panicked in this. so, if he is panicked in a situation like this, how might the difficulties of the level, the altitude, start to affect him? i mean, we are assuming, certainly, he has been around this aircraft but i would assume not alone and certainly we know not in a situation like this. >> the biggest concern is, caught in a perilous situation, you tend to hyper ventilate and when you breathe really rapidly, you excel -- you change the
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oxygen and carbon dioxide quite readily and you almost become light-headed. if you combine that rapid breathing with a change in oxygen, you know, it's possible that things are a little blurry and foggy but there's no reason for me to think that he's passed out or lost consciousness at this altitude. >> thank you very much, dr. nancy. david, a i'll sure you just got this note in as well. denver international airport has not issued a ground stop at this time, had they are monitoring a situation. and kusa has a press conference. let's listen in. >> who is the family and how are they doing? >> the family is richard heeney. the balloon never meant to carry anybody, it was just a family project they were working on. and the little compartment their son is in is very small and it is not attached very well. >> did they say at all how the
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balloon became untethered and took off? >> no, they didn't. i know they have got two boys, both playing outside, the family was in the house, the rest of the family and the one son saw the little brother go inside the little compartment and watch it take off. >> do we know for sure if falcon is inside the basket right now? >> he is. >> what is the family doing at this point? are they watching this unravel on tv? >> no there are agencies familiar with this type of experiment that are talking to the family on the phone, giving them ideas, find out how this balloon was made so they have got information on what to do when it does come to the ground. >> cathy, we know the family are experienced weather chasers in the summer months. did you talk about that at all? is that what this balloon was intended for? >> i don't know that. possibly. >> do you have any information about what falcon may be wear as far as clothes to keep him -- cold up there? any indication of what?
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>> no, i don't. >> any idea about what he is wearing? >> not at this time. >> okay. >> do we know, were they doing an experiment? we heard earlier they were having the balloon hover above the ground a little bit. >> possibly. i can't confirm that right now. >> how is the family -- is the family able to give information or are they just too distraught if. >> no they are. they are able to give information. like i said, richard is talking on the phone with different agencies that are involved with this type of experimentation. >> do you know how high the balloon reached at all? do you have any information? >> no, that i don't. but it is it is pretty sky. >> i understand the school district is off today for elementary studentsome that why falcon was at home? >> probably, i believe so. >> did the father know falcon was in the basket when it took off? >> no, because he was in the house.
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the other son came in and told him he was in the basket when it took off. >> the house behind you, not a big lot, where was it, the back side, in the driveway? >> it is -- [ inaudible ] backyard not very big. probably on the left side when you go out the back. >> all right, well, thank you very much for the update. >> you're welcome. >> again, the update from the larimer county sheriffs's department. we got the name of the family, the heeney family, richard heeney was inside, a search revealed he was a storm chaser quoted in articles chasing tornadoes and storms, arms written about that the son's name is falcon. the family says and the sheriff says falcon was inside. and tamron, troubling to hear that the bottom part of that con
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trap sex not, according to the sheriff, not very well connect canned to the top. so, that's obviously of grave concern. >> david, i want to bring in susan campbell, a hot air balloon sessionist, obviously this is a helium balloon, but she has been in contact or trying to get in contact with pilots familiar with this kind of aircraft. susan, thanks for sticking around with us. we are watching this as david pointed out, what may appear to be movement, up and down movement with this experimental aircraft is perhaps, we are watching the helicopter following, but we do see it turn different directions there. what do you think we are observing here with this helium balloon? >> well, at this point, the pictures i'm looking at does look like they are losing more helium at a more rapid rate is what i'm noticing here. but, yeah, it's losing more helium and if that is the case it is going to start coming down even faster. >> it is estimated that this experimental aircraft is going about 15, 20 miles per hour
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right now. have you been able to get in contact with -- i heard you say earlier you were trying to talk with some pilots who operate these gas balloons or helium pal loon? >> able to get ahold of neither of the two gentlemen i'm trying to get ahold of now that sun fortunate. clearly they have more experience with gas than we do. >> how is it different from being in a hot air balloon, which is your specialty? >> a hot air balloon, you have an onboard heater that you can actually put propane in to warm the air to ascend. you have a vent where you can let air out to come back down. and so you have of your vertical altitude. this type of balloon is certainly no gas balloon i have ever seen, traditional helium balloons have a way to put balance ast out or to, you know, as the sun warms the helium, you go up and as it cools it goes at night, so, there is some control and you have balance ast. from this aircraft, it doesn't appear that he has that at this point of control and that's
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what's most disconcerting. i don't know what type of control the aircraft has, a 6-year-old trying to pilot it. >> if he was able to do it susan, get to you happening on for a second. i know david has somebody for us to talk about. >> pictures from kusa, our affiliate in denver. on the phone with us now is one of their producers, nicole vat. i understand you have new information. what do you have? >> we have just learned that life flight is on the way to the scene, to the area where this is all happening. >> first of all, nicole, explain what life flight is for our viewers not familiar with it. >> life flight is a helicopter is advice that goes to scenes of accidents, will take people if they are injure and fly them to a local hospital. >> okay. now, does your station have any more information about the precise location of the balloon as it is floating now? >> the last time, about five minutes ago, 15 miles south of dia, denver international airport. if you are familiar with the
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denver area, denver international airport is outside of town, northeast of town and kind of a rural area. and so that's where with he is right now, just passed that. >> 15 miles to the south of denver international airport? >> yes, south and it is heading east. so it is southeast. probably about 20 miles now. it seems to be going pretty quick -- fast, in the air, the winds are pretty high right now, about 24 hours an hour coming out of the northwest, gusts up to 30 miles an hour, so, he is getting a pretty good wind pushing him along. >> the map we are showing then now it is going to be wrong, if that is to the south, you draw a long, correct me if i am wrong, nicole, a lane from fort collins to denver international airport, more of a southerly sort of line than easterly, in other words, much more to the south than to the east and would put it almost as if, i suppose he shall the line looks like -- the craft may have traveled essentially from fort colins a lot closer to denver than a lot of us have
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realized. >> yeah, it is pretty close to denver, actually, but going along i-76, which is one of the main highways out of denver toward, say, officer ling, colorado. so that's where it's -- you can see, yes -- hudson, northeast of the denver area. >> david, we have susan is and lester holt. you see the tether there, susan. and it appears, as you pointed out, helium may be leaving rapidly from this aircraft. give us some insight into what we are watching. >> again, it is hard to tell from this point of view, but it is clear that helium is leaving at a quicker rate. he will be descending more quickly and this is -- i don't know how much longer he will stay in the air but clearly, this thing is not going to be in the air for hours and hours.
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>> have you seen any aircraft similar to the one we are looking at, susan? >> never. no. not at all. >> if it is losing helium and the way it is, in order, out of one part of it could that conceivably cause this to sort of tip over more and sort of be even more slanted over. explain the aerodynamics if part of the balloon derates in and the helium remains in another part works that, by necessity, cause to dip? >> certainly depends on the design of this aircraft and i have no idea how the design, whether there is baffling in there or not. so hard to say. >> what is baffling? explain, what is the baffling? >> if it were sections, if it were sectioned off in dump helium compartments but i just don't know that from looking at t. >> we have got with us, david, jim cantore from the weather channel. jim, give us some description of the weather conditions there now where this is. >> you know it depends on how far up he is or down. 3,000 feet, if you will, at a temperature where it is probably
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40 degrees if he up around 7,000 degrees, he is below freezing now that is a whole different story with the weather. the temperature typically decreases with height in the standard atmosphere. you can see behind me, this water vapor image smoke the wet stream moving from northwest to southeast. the level he appears to be at now, winds blowing 30, 35 miles per hour, possibly even faster than that 45 miles an hour. the good news is, at least at this point, if will is any good news in this, not seeing the balloon, it doesn't appear, go up. the worse the wind will be, and the colder the temperatures are going to be. the question is how much can we sustain this helium and obviously what is a very aerodynamic helium balloon that just continues to move along at pretty great speed. temperature goes down the farther you go up and wind speeds go up as well. the good news if we can continue to see this slowly, slowly drop, maybe some miracle that awaits this guy's gets closer to the ground. right now, he is pretty much at the mercy of the jetstream, which is blowing from northwest off the southeast and working
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its way eventually over cap sass. back to you. >> what about the wind gusts we just heard from the reporter david was speaking with? >> well, you know, seem there is are disturbance around coming over the mountains now you can see some clouds build up over the mountains, doesn't appear to be a very strong disturbance but you are at a point in the day where the sun is still strong enough this time of the year can mix the area up to a level you can get what we call eddies or mixing of the air. it depends what level he is at now, if we can determine wrest. looking at the pictures and the speed, it appears to be moving along, up there, established winds, 30 miles an hour. >> david, from this vantage point, get more we heard from the news, that attachment, compartment where the child is not secure, not something they
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planned anyone to get inside and not attached very well, the quote from the news conference. >> i wonder if we have susan campbell, i think a question related to that susan, are you still there? >> yes. >> susan works it make any difference in terms of the aerodynamics if falcon, the 6-year-old is moving around in that little basket that tamron was talking about? does it affect the dynamic it is he shifts his weight around? >> yes. >> do the dipping we see, could that be relative to the boy's actions? >> it could be, especially on land. hot air balloon on landing, you kind of want to get to the back of the balloon, away from the direction you are travel, 'cause if you are going to hit, you want to be in the back in case you get thrown forward. i don't even know feck see out of that thing, ideally it comes into land, he would lake to be in the back end of it he has room to move and can deal with the drag. but could definitely be him moving around in there. >> is there a possibility of this essentially flipping upside
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down, depending on the aerodynamics? >> i think there is always that possibility, hard to see, depending how much helium comes out before he is able to, you know, come to the ground. >> david, just getting word and mentioned this a bit earlier, the colorado national guard joins operation send the mission from the air force rescue considered nation center to launch a helicopter in an effort to rescue the child in there. what their plan is we don't know but another detail coming in at this point. no book has been written how to bring this down. lester is with us at this point. lester what strikes you most what we are watching here, now the two-hour mark, i believe, of this odyssey. >> i appears to be getting lower, gratifying and frightening, we don't know how it will come down. as we are watching this, tamron, any military veterans, people
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who call the military post think of something called a fulton recovery system. it was developed in '6, basically, a way to retrieve downed air crew, in which they would launch a helium balloon along rope. that rope would go about 400 feet up, a c-130, almost like a scissors-like device would snatch that rope, lift them off the ground and winch them safely into the airplane. i'm seek the lines attached to this balloon and the thought crossed my mind, i did a little checking. unfortunately, that system the air force stopped using it in the late '90s, i'm sure it has crossed the minds of a lot of people with military experience thinking could they do something similar with this system, actually grab those lines with a c-130? probably not at this late hour, certainly as we see this balloon continue to lose helium. one thing to caution, because we are watching the helicopter shot. the helicopter moving around, he is on a very long lens, we get a distorted sense of movement
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here. it appears to be moving much quicker than 5 miles an hour, but even that, obviously, a very fast speed, we see it begin to oscillate now in that side to side movement. we can only imagine what it is like inside, especially if the child doesn't have any visibility, no window or port hole to see. and watching the helium that's been apparently escaping there, the other thought that came to my mind was whether the child is manipulating anything on here, any controls or any venting, pulling it toward and perhaps contributing to that in some form or fashion. and lastly, something i didn't hear in the news conference, was whether there was any kind of radio or phone or anything on this craft, this balloon, that they might be able to try to get ahold of the child. those are the things that crossed my mind. >> you know, lester, i want to ask you about, all the years of reporting that you have had on aircraft and i think even some storm chasers, it appears that this family, richard heeney and
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his wife, talked about in a number of barrels storm chasers and interest in gps systems and weather balloons, is it at all possible this is obviously pure conjecture on our part, perhaps the boy is more comfortable with the situation than we think because of his family's interest in these types of aircraft? >> i think you have to -- if the family was working around something like this he was around it he would, yeah, probably be at least a perhaps a better understanding of the technology than the rest of us that doesn't mean, certainly, he was prepared to go it alone on an out-of-control ride. but there is a nugget there, you said, he might at least have some knowledge of the controls inside and maybe seeing dad working with them, maybe have some sense of how this thing works and just not able to really control it. >> well, lester, we have got tom cost tell low still with us. tom, have you heard an update at all from the faa or any of these agencies now following this?
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>> the faa has -- the last time i had a conversation with them, they said to me, as i mentioned earlier, we are still looking for good ideas here. as we understand, the colorado national guard is knew talking about possibly trying to hoist a rescuer down to that balloon from a helicopter above, but this is, you know, as lester said, they -- this is unprecedented. i got to be concerned, as you have expressed this already, gout to be very concerned about how cold it is inside that aircraft. and yes, they are at 4,000 feet above the ground, 10,000 above sea level, but, you know, colorado is a dry climate and being a native coloradoan, you know, it gets cold there very quickly. i would be concerned about that as well. the other concern that they are watching very closely, hard to fell if this is dropping or if this is the helicopter moving its position, give you a sense what is happening to the balloon. the other concern i was going to say, with the proximity is to
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dia, to denver international airport. we have talked about that from time to time but that has to be a continuing ongoing concern. >> we have got a reporter on the ground, kusa i our affiliate, tom and lester, let's listen in to what they have are now. >> sky 9 and the movements of the helicopter. brian, not moving in a straight line direction but beginning to circle above you? >> yeah it is definitely circling, again, an interesting thing. a mushroom floating there very flat, looks like one of the sides has definitely deflated at this point compared to other side. >> now, you can see the building there in perspective. brian, apologize for interrupt aring you, let folks know this balloon has dropped significantly, now being estimated at elevation of 500 feet. and we are watching it descend now. we want to let folks know that as the balloon starts to come
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down and nears the ground, that's not something that we are going to be showing people live until we are certain that the child inside is safe. that's not something that you are going to watch live here on the air. we want to be cautious as this plays out. >> this is a story right now that has attracted national attention. there have been calls from news outlet, worldwide attention from all over to our newsroom as well. i'm watching ate associated press news wires, they are following. this we have had calls from australia. >> as you can see, reporting there from kusa the thing has dropped down now to 500 feet which means it has lost several thousand feet in the last 20 or 30 minutes. more information that is coming out about the heeney family including this, they devote their time to scientific experiments, including looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer and one account that suggests that they believe in psychics and that they can
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some hour the psychics can somehow control the weather. so whether or not these websites and what they are saying is an accurate depiction of the family, there are a number of quotes from the family supporting this, so an unusual family to say the least. david, let's bring back susan campbell. she is the balloonist, one side the air, 500 feet half do you believe with the scenarios here as far as what kind of landing we could see? >> well, you know, with the winds on the ground, it is going to be a higher wind landing. first of all, hitting something, an obstruction like a powerline is an issue that we want to avoid and if they are able to avoid that there will be some dragging involved until the balloon deflates all the way. so if it were to get close to the ground and hit something and deflate rapidly, it's kind of good if it doesn't drag a long
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way. the drag cog cause injury. the first thing i would be worried about are power lanes or obstructions. >> we have seen several power lanes in this shot, prospective lines, what appeared to be this movement closer to the homes as well as the powerlines. david, i think you have someone for us with an update as well. >> eloise campanella with the sheriff's office. what do you know about what we are seeing on tv right now? do you have resources in the area where this balloon appears to be coming down? >> we have resources on the ground and in the air at this time. we were lucky to get ate cyst tans out of the helicopters out of the denver news stations but it is now in at dams county at this time. it is heading south. i am told' it is 900 feet now. >> all right it is going now. >> because it is actually going down, down to 300 feet now, 100 according to the helicopter. >> there you go. >> for our viewers, put this on
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a delay and we are not going to show the moment of impact here. by all accounts, tamron, fire and rescue and stuff. you can see things right there fanned this thing floats down a little bit slower, the way it was going, this might be okay, just landed. >> it just landed. we see a gentleman rushing -- literally trying to cradle, capture the bottom attachment. this is a field, some kind of field, it was a softer landing, i think, than anyone is certainly thought it when we started carrying this earlier. susan, let me get you in here, what are we seeing right here? >> i can't imagine a better scenario, soft field no power lines a gentle descent, people there to catch him. this is a very wonderful ending, i think, to -- as long as he is okay inside, before -- you won't couldn't ask for a better outcome. >> how incredible is that? lester, you are with us, power lines, houses in the horizon and now an open field and we are waiting to see any signs of what
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may be going on inside the attachment, but what do you, perspective-wise, think of the landing you just witnessed? >> you what you couldn't hear is my audible sigh. think ours too. >> all of our hearts were beating here. this is the best possible outco outcombest possible scenario watch it float like that tense the next few homes if they are able to reach him. >> lester, a danger with the helium, anything that concerns them about actually opening up the balloon? it would seem like they are standing back a distance, something they have to do to ground it -- >> you have just gone out of my expertise, i don't know. they seem to be trying to dig around it as best as i can tell to get to the -- the problem, it is not a typical balloon which off gondola, so it is unclear where he is and i'm flood see someone finally getting the rope around the top of this thing no danger of it floating around
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again, but through this whole ordeal, difficult for us to understand wrest inside this contraption and in fact, much smaller than i think a lot of us now that we have the perspective of adult men around it. wasn't a lot to this thing a very, very small craft. something that we heard in the news conference, lester and david, the family said it was a very small compartment and see other than a small child who could fit in something that tiny there? >> yeah, once you get in the air all this time, looked like it was the size of a house. and it is so tiny there but the other thing that is fascinating is that the cockpit, whatever you call it, remained attached, we heard in that news cop friends, the concern that it was not attached very well with, the family expressed fear that it was not firmly attached, the fact it stayed intact as this balloon came down, i think is, again, more hope. right now, just trying to --
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they are not worried about the helium, trying to get the helium out and collapse it. >> susan, you are still with us as well. you said you have never seen an aircraft like this do you have any perspective on what is happening here? >> well, i think they are just trying to make sure it doesn't go back up and this ento find a way to extract that little gay and see if he is okay. >> any danger, susan, when you are dealing with helium, as far as helium that maybe left, could seep into the basket or that compartment? >> i don't think from my knowledge, i don't think that that's danger but i'm not an experienced gas pilot, sorry r. >> we are watching, david and lester, and saw this as well, they kind of moved that attachment around. the reports were that the child was in here. this is -- his brother reportedly saw him go inside but we have seen no real movement toward that attachment as they deflated the mushroom part, if you will, of this experimental aircraft completely. so, now one wonders -- they are
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now moving closer to the attachment, you see some movement there, david, with the shovel around the attach.kind of hit it. >> i want interrupt, i heard from -- apparently kusa, their photo journalist is on the scene saying there was nobody in this compartment, the compartment is empty, which would explain, then, i suppose the way -- >> why they are handling it. >> trying to officially sort of verify that and then that gets, obviously to a couple of questions. did the boy fall out along the way or some part of hoax, effort, attention by the family a lot of people already suggesting is a strange family to begin w. >> let's listen in. >> now using a pocket knife to cut the rest of that open, the door is -- you said it was the door is open at this point. they are cutting the rest of the balloon open at this point.
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but again, there is no child in this -- in this balloon. and to be honest with you, the faces of these -- the paramedics and the sheriff's department are -- is pretty much disbelief at this point. a lot of phone calls are being made and just really no one -- no one know what is s what to d now. the bottom of the balloon, there was a peg that is sticking out from the bottom of that balloon and there's nothing attached to it and it looks at one point, there -- something may have been attached to that. but again, there is no child that is on this -- part of this aircraft, per se that landed in this field. the dirt field in the middle of weld county, just east of road
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59, south of road 6. and again, the officers here on scene are just in complete disbelief of what they have not found on this aircraft. the bottom is made out of cardboard, it is a cord board door and it is sitting there open. there is no child here. when i first arrived on scene, i got here right when it was landing, officers ran up to it deathered it down with-- ran up it dea it, teathereded it down, using a shovel to puncture holes in it as well. they were yelling -- officers were yelling at the child in case he was inside, not to be
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scared. that it was authorities that with were here to help him. >> officers did search the family home in case the father was mistaken that he was not in the aircraft. and that is important to find out that he was not inside the capsule. adam is the one who has been reporting from the family's home for us throughout the late morning and early afternoon. let's go back to adam now, who i believe is standing by with a neighbor. adam? >> right, kyle. this is mark freedland, a neighbor of falcon's. mark, so if you could -- i just
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ear heard they didn't find a body in the basket. >> oh. >> any thoughts at this point? >> i mean that's -- i don't know how to react to that i don't have a feeling yet with that. no. i don't think i can -- i don't think i can have a feeling about that yet. but i mean, obviously, our thoughts and our prayers are, you know, for, you know, richard and maumi and the boys. and, you know, that's our major, main concern for them. i mean, those -- they have about our neighbors for a year. we moved here about a year ago. and they have been, you know, excellent, you know, good, great friends and neighbors. and, you know, they are slightly unusual, yes. they are, you know, scientists/inventor/storm chasers. that's their lifestyle. and, you know so they are not the typical neighbors to have but, you know, we love them. they are great. >> so what is falcon like?
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>> you know, all the boys seem to be, you know, very well adjusted, you know, fun-loving boys that are -- seem to, you know, we get along with them. you know, we sort of consider them part of our -- >> we are listening to a anybody of the heene family react to the news that this helium aircraft came to the ground and no one, no one, including 6-year-old boy, believed to be inside was inside the aircraft. still with me, lester holt, susan campbell. lester, i will start off with you here. now, this is still an investigation, the home of this family has been searched. this is absolutely baffling at this point. >> i are to tell you, i'm still feeling a sense of dread because we only know what we know, that he wasn't in the balloon when it landed. none of us saw it go up, so we were not sure we were watching the full structure of that balloon over this last hour or some the family had talked about
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the passenger compartment, fuif you will, wasn't firmly attached, part of me wonders perhaps he was on the balloon, fell out, jumped out, we don't know. we don't. >> i'm not feeling that sense of relief that everything's okay here. i don't think any of us can until we get to the bottom of some more questions here. >> to back track a bit, according to authorities, falcon and his brother were out in the back of the home. it was the brother who reported seeing falcon climb into the compartment and it's unknown how the tethered aircraft took off, the father saying there was no clear explanation saying how this took place. we don't know the time line between when falcon's brother went inside and said he witnessed this or when he informed his parents of seeing his brother, the 6-year-old, go inside the compartment itself. back to sues.
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i know you are not familiar with this aircraft, lester makes the excellent point there we don't know the full attachment, if there was another part if falcon was inside that portion. it is still a mystery at this minute. >> exactly, we only came in on the second half of this story. the beginning of the play we didn't see. that is disconcerting. the balloon gently land into the best scenario, i was ecstatic, but now the rest of the story. what happened at the beginning? and i guess the mystery is still unfolding. >> one thing i should -- one thing i think we should point out, tamron, i think there is a pretty good sense the family working on this for some time, i have a feeling, tamron, the father probably knew, some of the tight shots we were showing and that others were showing on tv, whether that compartment was missing. so the key now, of course you can the last hour or so what have they been a able to learn
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from the family about this extra comp partment that may have been missing, how much effort would it have taken for a 6-year-old boy to try to pry himself loose? any chance it happened at a low enough altitude, maybe in some miraculous fashion he survived, the other big question, still out there, are they absolutely convinced, are investigators absolutely convinced the boy was in there, that there wasn't part of some grand scheme or hoax? i'm sure they are going back again and reasking the questions and just try to be absolutely sure. >> you have one witness who is a child. we don't know the age of the second child who witnessed it, but they were out of school today. school is not in session, that is the explanation of the boys being home at the time, given by the family, obviously. and you have one witness to this and that would be the brother there.
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authorities at the home and they have searched his home, david, so, many of the answers perhaps, as you point out, still are the heene parents. >> let's bring back lester in. lester, this idea of a compartment might have been attached to waiting to get information from the family, waiting to see what they divine about this thing originally. again quite possibly, the bottom is made out of cardboard that doesn't require a lot of strength to be able to create a whole or when yourself out of it. >> at one point, i can't see it now, we can see what appeared to be the hatch of the door on it, what i don't know, i heard the kusa cameraman describing the scene, unclear whether the door was open when it came down or if the rescuers had opened it. it is a disturbing story on a lot of levels, disturbing the offchance this thing was a horrible mace stake or hoax and
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disturbing the other, we can't account for a child here. you are right, the family would have been able to see the video. but it was spinning. i assume that all the parts appeared to be attached, the critical time it left the ground and we started seeing it on tv is the difficult thing here and if it was loosely attached, easy to get open, not inconceivable that he may have made a leap to safety and hopefully is okay somewhere near his home. >> and we heard, lester and david, the neighbor describe the heene familyscientists, inventors. he said they were unusual. those were his words. they were into a number of different things, including the experimental aircraft. we're waiting to get any update from the authorities who are still on the scene.
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perhaps they will shortly give more information on what richard heene, that is the father, he was said to be on the phone in contact with experts to give advice on how to bring down the aircraft when we were in the heart or the heat of this story. but we've not had an update since the landing of that aircraft, david. >> yeah. i mean, and, again, we're still waiting for more information about what the family is saying and how they're describing this -- this sort of flying saucer. cameron, aga tamron, the other disturbing part is never mind a 6-year-old boy -- assuming the family is being completely honest, and right now there is no indication that they're not, in addition to their 6-year-old boy being missing and everyone fearing the worse worse, there are a lot of concerns about the family themselves. thing that's have been posted by the family and by some of the friends in sort of a circle of people involved in storm chasers and met aphysics and science, there are claims the family believed in psychics. there are claims the father felt
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he was close to figuring out some sort of anti-gravity machine that might work in cyclones or tornadoes. they certainly have been described as sort of a mad scientist-type of family. and how that translates into what it was they were trying to build here, how sturdy it was, and whether it was ever intended to have anybody attached to this thing. a lot of questions. >> there are. lester, you pointed out one of the most critical things at this point is the time line of when that -- the report came in from the brother of the missing boy that he saw, witnessed, falcon, the 6-year-old, get inside that aircraft and when he told his family. there's a lot of missing time here that the authoritiless have some information shortly. this turned into a national story. people are watching this video, i'm sure, even now with viral videos and the internet, this is across the world. this is a mystery.
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you still have a 6-year-old boy unaccounted for at this minute. >> now the question has become a little more pointed. good investigative techniques, it sounds like they immediately searched the house to make sure he wasn't around there. now they know they have an empty balloon, the questions become harder and perhaps the search expands beyond just the house itself. the questions, the brother, the family, become a little more directed now as they try to figure out, establish how do you know he was on here? could he have run off? how could he have escaped? how was this thing constructed? what's the area around here? is there a nearby pond? were there trees he could have tried to jump into? now it takes on a whole different tone. the balloon we see lying in the field is really irrelevant to this investigation. it's what happened before that point. >> tamron, we want to show for our viewers again at the end of the two-hour journey of this device, it did come down to a much sort of softer landing than a lot of people had feared it would. and the kind of landing that if
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there had been something inside, one might assume they might have been able to survive this. of course, the problem is that after two hours of drama about whether this balloon would land safely or not or any sort of position whereby somebody could survive, unfortunately, they discovered fairly quickly that there was nobody inside that contraption. and there are reports that a piece of the bottom part, beneath the bag that was made out of cardboard, had somehow either had been detached or came off, which then raises all kinds of questions about whether the boy fell out or whether he struggled at some point and it became detached, and where is he? >> right. that is the question at this point, where is falcon heene? the father described this as a family project that they had been working on. we don't have, lester and david, a time line of how long they have been working on this or any of the details. as lester pointed out, that's almost irrelevant at this point.
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we've got to get more details or the authorities there are looking to get more details on a time line and where this child could be right now. >> and, tamron -- >> yes? >> you know, the one thing we have to point out as you watch that balloon -- and i hate to paint this horrible picture, but that balloon was oscillating for quite a while there. there was a loet t of movement going on. the cameras and helicopters were on a very long lens so they were back quite a way. we may have witnessed something and not even realized we were witnessing it. there was a lot -- especially in the last 20 minutes, there was a lot of violent pitching of that balloon as it lost helium. i'm not suggesting anything. i'm just saying really everything is open to a possibility here now, especially if that passenger compartment was flimsily attached or constructed, if the door wasn't attached. we just don't know. >> we just got confirmation, david, here and this is
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something that has been floating around on the internet. this family had been featured on a reality television show called "wife swap" last year where they profiled the heene family. they said the lifestyle they live, is not for everyone. that's the quote. the life they live is not for everyone but this ft. collins family participated in this abc reality show "wife swap." we're learning a lot more about this family and who they are and their background as we wait to get any word on where 6-year-old falcon is. he was 5 at the time, david and lester, that they shot this reality show with the family. >> right. tamron, here's some of the things we have confirmed since the confirmation of him being on "wife swap" was confirmed. the original source, here's what else he writes. he writes, "i have known richard for 20 years. he's an amazingly creative human, now turped mad scientist, who insists on repeatedly proving there is a very fine line between genius and insanity. it's impossible to paint a true
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picture of richard. i can tell you about the cocker spaniel he gave a purple mohawk in the '80s and pronounced a punker spaniel. i can tell you how impressed my son jimmy was at age 10 i told him to visit richard in the abandoned house he was occupying. jimmy was taken with the boarded-up windows and mickey mouse cartoon graffiti on the wal walls." when you go through, the people who claim to know richard heene and his family explain this picture of unusual beliefs and unusual lifestyle. >> this is a family picture we're showing right now. this is the mother, we heard the neighbor refer to richard, and originally they said there were two sons. according to this report i have in front of me, there are three, bradford, rio and falcon. the missing child being the youngest, and i imagine he would be the one in the middle on this photograph, because according to the ages -- again, this is from a script from this reality show from last year at the time, bradford was 9, rio was 7 and
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falcon was 5. so he from looking at the picture and using logic would be the small child in the middle there. >> and just to be clear, regardless of what their interests were, assuming, tamron, as everyone does including the piece right now that the boy was in that basket, that was not supposed to happen. this basket was not supposed to fly away with any of the kids on board. clearly the basket was still a work in progress. regardless of what the family believed about this contraption, if the child was on board, as everyone assumes that they were, you can imagine, tamron, that they are as heartbroken and devastated by this series of developments as anybody. >> absolutely. absolutely. you are spin spending your day with your children home from school and according to the reports from authorities there on the scene, the one son -- we don't know the identity of which boy -- ran into the family and said that falcon, the 6-year-old, had crawled into the compartment and that for some unknown reason at this time, the aircraft took off.
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it had been tethered in the rear of the home, and the same long rope pieces that we saw when this helium aircraft was floating through the sky is what was used to tether it in the family's backyard. and there's no -- according to the authorities, no clear explanation of how it became untethered in the backyard, david. >> tamron, since we're getting close to the top of the hour, we're going to remind everybody of what's been happening. on the left of your screen, you're looking at pictures of what all of us were watching for about an hour and a half, and that is the reports came in that helium balloon type of device that was made to look like a flying saucer had somehow become untethered from a home in ft. collins, colorado. a home that was owned by richard heene, who is described, the father described as a storm chaser who had a fascination with all sorts of devices and storm-chasing devices and science. and the description was


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